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ONE MusicFest Producer J. Carter on Building the Sol Fusion Brand

The 3rd Annual ONE MusicFest is returning to Atlanta during Labor Day Weekend on Saturday, Sept, 1. Organizer J. Carter promises that this summer music festival will be the best ever.

Artists include legendary acts; Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, DJ Salah, DJ Kemit and Speakerfoxxx and much more. ONE MusicFest will be held at a brand new location: Historic Fourth Ward Park and the Masquerade Music Park, located east of midtown Atlanta.

Here, J. Carter talks about his company Sol Fusion Media Group, building relationships with brands and offers advice to up-and-coming promoters. –yvette caslin

Who is J. Carter?
I am the founder of Sol Fusion Media Group.

Harlem. I attended high school in Atlanta.

Where did you attend college?
Florida A&M University.

What service(s) does Sol Fusion Media Group provide?
We do brand marketing and promotions. We started about 11 years ago, basically just doing progressive and nontraditional events where we merged different cultures into one big party. We fused live music, house music, reggae, hip-hop, old school, soul, Rock and classic. The platform was built on offering you something that you weren’t really getting in typical Atlanta clubs. It kept growing from there.

Early on, we were contacted by Heineken to come on board with events that had a following. They were our first client; it’s how we started doing brand marketing.

So, you left corporate America to start your own business?
I did. I was juggling throwing parties that I wanted to attend with being a legal consultant. I never imagined it would develop into a career doing brand marketing and promotions.

How has social media changed the way you do business?
It’s a huge component. The great thing about social media is that you can track your results and tie people’s thoughts, comments and opinions to your events. It has changed the way we promoted in the past. It allows you a space to showcase creativity. Back in the day, we used the Internet a little, but relied more on text messages and emails to promote events. Today’s social media really allows you to paint a better picture of what your event and production will look like. It allows partygoers to be savvier shoppers. Reading a flier might attract you to an event, but once you get there, you may realize that it isn’t for you.

What is your vision for Sol Fusion Media Group over the course of the next 3-5 years?
We’ve placed some stakes in the ground in other markets and wish to do more. We would like to work closer with the city of Atlanta to see how we can produce larger, progressive events. Atlanta has a lot of opportunities to serve the mid-20s to 40’s, multicultural and progressive, crowd.

How big is your staff?
We keep a team of interns. There are two part-time employees and myself.

Do you partner with others in the business?
Yes, we collaborate with event planners, promoters, production teams and brands. We look forward to doing more conceptual events with brands.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming event planners and promoters?
Be very clear about who your audience is and what your product is. A lot of people find themselves in a pitfall where they have 4-5,000 friends on Facebook and think they can become a promoter overnight.  It’s a little more complex than that. If you’re doing it for the love of money, you’ll likely fail because you’ll tend to put money ahead of customer service and your patrons. Have a nest egg as a cushion to fall back on so your focus on customer services and build a loyal following. Be humble and open to learn. Be a student of the game.  Reach out to people who you look up to. Don’t be scared to ask the tough questions.   Get away from the computer and get out and meet people. Mix and mingle with the crowd you want to attract.

How do you make friends and build relationships?
It’s simply by doing right by people. Building solid relationships has everything to do with your deliverables. In many cases, you should under promise and over deliver.  Again, be a student of the game. If you want to get in bed with these brands, you have to find out what’s important to them rather than trying to be pushy about what’s important to you. Find a happy medium.

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